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Don’t Get Ticked Off By Lyme Disease

Summer is upon us and for many folks that means spending time outdoors,  hiking, camping, walking and exploring forests and wooded areas. It also means working and playing in your own backyard.Tick Warning

No matter where you live in the continental United States, you are at risk for the tick-borne illness known as Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Deer ticks harbor these bacteria and spread it when feeding on animals and humans. People in the Northeast, Midwest and Northwest are at highest risk, but these ticks can be found in any grassy or heavily wooded area — even your own backyard!

Signs and Symptoms

Most cases of Lyme disease start with a rash that looks like a bump, and then grows into something like a bull’s eye, as illustrated below. lime

This rash is called erythema migrans, and can start where the tick bite occurred. It happens in 70-80% of Lyme disease cases. Flu-like symptoms can also occur, such as fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and headache. The symptoms and pattern of Lyme disease can vary from person to person because the illness can affect many different body systems.

If you develop a rash and flu-like symptoms and feel that you may have contracted Lyme disease, you should seek medical attention. At this point in time, treatment is easy and can prevent the serious and sometimes severe complications of Lyme disease. Your doctor can fully evaluate and examine you for the illness. There is a blood test that can check to see if you have Lyme disease, but this test does take a few weeks after exposure to show a positive result.

If your doctor feels you have the early stages of Lyme disease, he or she will probably offer you a 10-14 day course of oral antibiotics to kill the bacteria and prevent complications. As the blood test can take some time before it becomes positive, oral antibiotics are recommended as a preventative.

If Not Treated…

What are the complications? It is amazing that a tick-borne illness can produce such serious issues. If not treated, severe joint pain can develop associated with swelling and redness. The knees are the most common joints affected, but the pain and swelling can move from joint to joint, a condition known as migratory arthritis.

People with untreated Lyme disease also can develop neurological problems. These include meningitis, Bell’s palsy (facial nerve paralysis), and numbness and weakness in the arms and legs. These problems can persist for months, even years, in an untreated infection, and can be very debilitating. Some people also develop an irregular heartbeat, eye problems, hepatitis and very severe chronic fatigue.

Take Precautions

You may be bitten by a deer tick and not even know it because it doesn’t hurt or sting. The tick attaches to your skin and eventually the Lyme disease bacteria will get into your bloodstream. This usually takes 48 hours. Common sense precautions include wearing protective clothing when in wooded/grassy areas and using a tick repellant containing a strong concentration of DEET —10 to 30%. Oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be used as a preventive. Do not use these products on children under the age of 3.

Checking yourself for ticks after possible exposure and removing the tick greatly lessens your chance of getting Lyme disease. Just grasp the tick with tweezers and remove as much of it as possible. Lastly, maintaining your yard by keeping the grass mowed and brush trimmed will keep the tick population down.

Your pets are also at risk for deer tick bites, and they should be checked carefully for ticks and/or a rash after being outdoors. Also, there have been cases of Lyme disease where people weren’t in the woods or grassy areas, so be aware of your risk just spending time outdoors.

Using these precautions and preventive strategies, you greatly reduce your chance of getting a deer tick bite and developing Lyme disease. If you are bitten by a tick, you now know what the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease are and can seek early medical attention to prevent the serious complications of the disease.

So, enjoy this summer and the great outdoors to the fullest…and protect yourself against Lyme disease!

By Lisa Forgione, MD

[Ed. Note: Lisa Forgione, MD, is an Emergency Medicine Physician, a Diplomate of ABFM and a Member of AAFP and NCAFP.  She has received several Physicians Recognition Awards for teaching from the AMA and AAFP.  Dr. Forgione was recently selected as one of the Top Family Doctors of 2009 by the Consumers’ Research Council of America.]

Source:  True Health Is True Wealth  

Posted: Just One More Pet

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Animals Can Plan and Use Tools

Humans may not be the only animals that plan for the future, say researchers reporting on the latest studies of animal mental ability.  “I suggest we humans should keep our egos in check,” Edward Wasserman of the University of Iowa said Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Wasserman, a professor of experimental psychology, said that, like people, pigeons and baboons were able to tell which pictures showed similar items, such as triangles or dots, and which showed different items.  He spoke at a symposium on Animal Smarts, where researchers discussed the latest findings in the mental abilities of animals. In the last 20 years, there has been a major revolution in the understanding of animals, added Nicola Clayton, a professor of comparative cognition at the University of Cambridge in England. Animals not only use tools, but there is evidence that some of them save tools for future use, she said.

“Planning ahead was once thought to be unique to humans,” Clayton said. “We now know that’s not true.” 

Source:  Pet Land – Animal Movers

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pet and Animal Training, Pets, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pet Owners Urged to Stop Using Peanut Products

Dozens of pet food and treat manufacturers have now conducted voluntary recalls on products containing peanuts, in response to the ongoing FDA investigation into Salmonella contamination.

Pet Owners Urged to Stop Using Peanut ProductsPeanut butter and paste are sold by Peanut Corporation of America ( PCA) in bulk containers, and while neither product is sold directly to consumers, more than 100 companies that make peanut flavored products received shipments of potentially contaminated stock. After an FDA investigation it was found that the Georgia plant ” was not compliant with Current Good Manufacturing Practices required by the FDA”, and these deficiencies are related to cleaning programs and procedures as well as failure to implement steps to mitigate Salmonella contamination in the facility.  

Pet food and treat manufacturers who have conducted recalls include Carolina Prime, Carolina Prime Pet, Grreat Choice, Happy Tails, Healthy Hide, Healthy-hide Deli-wrap, Salix, Shoppers Valu and more. The ASPCA advises that dogs who do become ill from Salmonella may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and drooling or panting. In severe cases, the bacterium may spread throughout the body resulting in death. Cats may develop high fever with vague non-specific clinical signs. Anyone who suspects their pet may have contracted salmonellosis should consult their veterinarian without delay.

“The ASPCA recommends that pet parents discontinue the use of all affected products immediately until further information has been received,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, the ASPCA’s Senior Vice President of Animal Health Services. “Pet parents should wash their hands after handling any potentially contaminated food and immediately consult with a veterinarian if any signs or symptoms are noticed in their pets.”

According to the FDA, the risk of animals contracting salmonellosis is minimal, but there is risk to humans from handling these products. And Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial AnimalHospital said, “Salmonella can be passed between pets and humans. Adult cats are relatively resistant and most dogs infected with the bacterium appear normal, but may pass Salmonella in their feces which can infect people or other susceptible pets, therefore it’s essential that pet parents take steps to protect both themselves and their animal companions from exposure.”

Source:  Pet People’s Place

Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

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February 5, 2009 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment